Boeing company health insurance runs out today for Machinists on strike. The loss of the medical plan will add immediate expenses for some with chronic health conditions.

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Aerospace

Boeing company health insurance runs out today for Machinists on strike.

The loss of the medical plan will add immediate expenses for some with chronic health conditions, though others may delay acting to replace the coverage.

Under the federal COBRA program, anyone losing health insurance due to loss of employment is entitled to opt to pay monthly premiums to continue the same coverage for as long as 18 months.

Boeing spokesman Tim Healy said the monthly premiums for the Machinists will range from $364 to $1,538 depending on the choice of plan and number of dependents.

Union spokeswoman Connie Kelliher said that as part of any back-to-work agreement the union will insist on retroactive payment of any medical expenses during the strike, including COBRA premiums.

Financial services

Judge orders WaMu to court

Washington Mutual Inc., a holding company for the savings and loan that became the biggest U.S. bank to fail, was ordered to appear in court Friday to update the judge overseeing the Seattle company’s bankruptcy.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Mary F. Walrath scheduled a 9:30 a.m. “status hearing” in a three-paragraph order issued Monday.

WaMu filed for bankruptcy Friday without providing details beyond an estimate of its debts and assets.

Its banking subsidiary was seized Thursday by federal regulators after customers withdrew $16.7 billion over 10 days. JPMorgan Chase bought the branches Friday.

In its filings, WaMu said it had about $8 billion in debt and $32 billion in assets.

Nation / World

Economy

Consumers spend less in August

Consumer spending in August turned in the weakest performance in six months, underscoring the threat the economy faces as the government’s stimulus program fades into the past.

The Commerce Department reported Monday that consumer spending was unchanged in August, even worse than the small 0.2 percent gain economists had expected.

It was the weakest showing since spending was also flat in February.

Energy

Bailout defeat sends oil down $10

Oil prices plunged more than $10 a barrel Monday as a U.S. financial bailout plan failed to win legislative approval, raising the specter of a prolonged economic downturn that could drastically erode global energy demand.

Light, sweet crude for November delivery sank $10.52, or 10.1 percent, to settle at $96.37 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

It was the lowest trading level since prices edged below $100 earlier this month; crude previously hadn’t traded that low since February.

Pharmaceuticals

ImClone may name bidder Wednesday

ImClone Systems said Monday it expects either a solid purchase proposal or formal rejection by Wednesday night from its mystery suitor, which ImClone says is offering $70 per share for the biotech company.

That price, from a large pharmaceutical company ImClone hasn’t named, tops two offers from the company’s partner, Bristol-Myers Squibb, in a friendly marriage proposal-turned-triangle featuring sharp exchanges between Bristol’s CEO and ImClone’s chairman, billionaire Carl Icahn.

ImClone’s announcement marks the second time the maker of cancer drug Erbitux has pushed back the deadline for the secret suitor to finish examining ImClone’s books, a standard process known as due diligence.

The original deadline was to be last Thursday, then was switched without explanation to last Sunday.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff and The Associated Press